Farideh Guyandeh is the translator of the book that was originally published by Vintage in 1986.
The narrator of Klima’s novel has temporarily abandoned his work-in-progress - an essay on Kafka - and exchanged his writer’s pen for the orange vest of a Prague street-sweeper.
As he works, he meditates on Czechoslovakia, on Kafka, on life, on art and, obsessively, on his passionate and adulterous love affair with the sculptress Daria.
Gradually, he admits the impossibility of being at once an honest writer and an honest lover, and with that agonizing discovery comes a moment of choice.
Klima has received the Magnesia Litera Award and the Franz Kafka Prize, among other honors.
His early childhood in Prague was happy and uneventful, but this all changed with the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, after the Munich Agreement.
He had been unaware that both his parents had Jewish ancestors; neither were observant Jews, but this was immaterial to the Germans.
He, his parents and brother were ordered to leave for the concentration camp at Theresienstadt (Terezín), where he was to remain until liberation by the Russian Liberation Army in May 1945. Both he and his parents survived incarceration.